DOUGLAS GRANT (1921-1969)

CO-EDITOR (1963)

Representative Poetry On-line
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University of Toronto Library 2001.

Barker Fairley published the following obituary in the University of Toronto Quarterly (April 1969):
Douglas Grant, professor of American literature at the University of Leeds, who died suddenly at Singapore on 1 February 1969, aged forty-seven, was a member of the English Department of University College from 1949 to 1960 and editor of this quarterly for five years, beginning in 1955. As a university teacher he had a force and a freshness which stamped him permanently on the minds of his students, and in his editorial capacity he notably extended the Quarterly's range, devoting whole issues, or sections of issues, to such public topics as 'The University and Business," "Man and Industry," or 'The Humanities in Soviet Higher Education." He was a born writer, his publications extending from The Fuel of the Fire, a war-book recording his experiences, chiefly in Sicily, as a commando officer in World War II and showing an affinity with Edmund Blunden, whom he met at Oxford and admired, to biographies of Margaret, Duchess of Newcastle -- Newcastle was his native place -- and James Thomson. There are various studies and editions in the field of his favourite eighteenth century, including selections of Sterne, Dryden, and Pope, as well as smaller books and articles on Mark Twain and other Americans. He also wrote extensively (see the London Times, 4 February 1969) for the T.L.S. His latest publication was a British Academy paper, entitled "Nationalism and the Literature of the United States." Unfortunately, what might have been, if not his magnum opus, since in the academic life forty-seven is young, at any rate his best book to date remains unfinished. This is his long-planned study of Hazlitt. In a letter to me, dated 15 January 1969, he writes: "I have started Hazlitt -- in fact, I'm half way through it; it will be a long piece, but the subject is worth it." His friends and colleagues will agree that there was much of Hazlitt's downrightness in his own nature and that in this case author and subject were made for one another. There is no saying what Douglas Grant would have gone on to write in the years of productive life that might have been his. One cannot imagine him ever slumping in his desk-chair. Indeed he was so intensely vivid a personality that it is hard to realise he is no longer there. Someone who knew him well once said that Douglas "smouldered" all the time and he liked to warm his hands at him. Of all my closer friends he is the one who prompts me to say that he seemed to belong in spirit to an earlier, robuster, less unheroic age than ours, being perhaps more Cavalier in character than Johnsonian, though smacking not a little of both. The note of vivacity, even of gaiety, which this implies, ought not to go unsounded here, tempering our sorrow at his being swept away so soon.

Douglas Grant co-edited the Dryden selections with F. E. L. Priestley for the 1963 edition of Representative Poetry.